Food & Drink writer Zenna Hussain writes about her experience with three items from Starbucks’ Festive Menu

Written by Zenna Hussain
Images by Starbucks UK on Facebook , Zenna Hussain

Chocolate and Orange S’mores Toastie 

Starbucks’ new offering is a fruit loaf sandwich with a luxurious filling of mini marshmallows, chocolate orange sauce and chocolate pieces. At only three pounds, it is a Christmas bargain, and probably not a treat you will get to have often or even again. I will admit I had my reservations; it sounded a bit sickly and too good to be true. However, it may be the most Christmassy food I have ever tried, as well as the most unusual.

It is a perfect treat for yourself or a friend, especially when eaten in the cold air

I went onto the campus Starbucks to try to hunt it down (it had been sold out the last two times) and after kindly being offered to get it heated, I sat down to enjoy it. Despite sitting in Starbucks surrounded by the smell of coffee, I could still easily smell the chocolate orange, making it very hard to try and get work done and leave the food for later.

I gave in and ate it while it was still warm, I would definitely recommend this as the gooey marshmallows were a lot easier to digest than the solid mini marshmallow pieces.

Each bite was equally delicious. The fruit loaf perhaps added a tad too much sweetness, but the freshness and toasted aspect to the loaf gave it a nice crunch, contrasting well with the soft marshmallows and chocolate pieces. I could taste all the ingredients; the chocolate orange added with the fruit loaf gave it a very fruity, Christmassy taste. My only qualm would be the chocolate pieces which had all dropped to the bottom, meaning I forgot about them until there was a bite of pure chocolate, which was a little unnecessary.

The ‘S’mores Toastie’ was well-sized. It was incredibly rich and filling, I think any bigger would be a bit too much and veer on the side of sickly. For three pounds it is a perfect treat for yourself or a friend, especially when eaten in the cold air.

Overall rating: 8.5/10


Toffee Nut Latte

I am typically not a very big coffee lover, with Starbucks’ overwhelmingly sweet caffeinated drinks generally being the most I can handle. And yet, the ‘Toffee Nut Latte’ was probably one of my favourite Christmas drinks.

The first hit is a nice caramel flavour, and the coffee is more an aftertaste

The ‘Toffee Nut Latte’ is composed of toffee nut syrup, whipped cream, and toffee nut sprinkles, giving the first few sips a luxuriously sweet and festive taste. The first hit is a nice caramel flavour, and the coffee is more an aftertaste. It is perfect for students with 9am lectures and seminars, who do not really enjoy coffee but need a caffeine hit.

The toffee nut flavour is also available as coffee pods to make at home, and as an iced latte, as well as a hot drink so if it is the flavour you are after, there are a variety of ways to get it.

While the coffee is a bit expensive, each sip is quite flavoursome, and makes it well worth the price. Unlike certain overpriced drinks, the toffee nut latte is difficult to make from scratch, so it is well worth buying, in my opinion. Given the sweetness and the whipped cream, it does feel less like a drink and more like a snack.

It’s definitely a drink for those who are less snobby about their coffee but for coffee aficionados, it may be one to avoid.

Overall rating: 7/10.


Starbucks Fudge Brownie Hot Chocolate

As a self-admitted hot chocolate lover, I was very excited to try The Starbucks ‘Fudge Brownie Hot Chocolate’ as it sounded decadent and rich, the perfect treat for Christmas. However, I am sad to admit that the drink fell fairly short of expectations.

The drink is in good company with other Christmassy drinks such as a ‘Caramel Waffle,’ ‘Toffee Nut,’ ‘Gingerbread,’ and ‘Eggnog’ lattes, all in the iconic red cups.

It was not as sweet as the name implied it would have been

The hot chocolate is a mix of mocha, a biscuit flavoured sauce, with mocha whipped cream and drizzle, and topped with small fudge pieces. The toppings were delicious and luxurious but their sweetness just offset the drink disappointingly, as the hot chocolate itself was a little thin. It was not as sweet as the name implied it would have been, and even the appearance of the iconic red cups was not enough to make it feel truly Christmassy.

I bought the drink on the way to my 10am lecture, and it was made within a couple of minutes, leaving me time to make my lecture. I was asked if I wanted whipped cream, and the milk I wanted, which I did appreciate. Now, admittedly I did buy the Christmas tree brownie and ate that alongside the drink, so in contrast the drink may have tasted less sweet.

The appearance of the hot chocolate, as well as the overpriced nature of it did make me feel like I was at a Christmas market. However, for a chain that is known for delivering good drinks, and the saccharine flavour of the majority of their drinks, it is bizarre and a little sad that this is where they fell down.

If I was desperate for a shot of sweetness and warmth on a cold Christmas day, I might get it again, but I would not be too happy with myself, as the price is a bit too much.

Overall Rating: 5/10.

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